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For the holidays, Mountain City is going to let guests bring in their favorite casserole dishes in which the restaurant’s staff will prepare a casserole. This way, Bennett says, guests can take the tasty side dish to their holiday party and if they want to claim it as theirs, they can. For years he has been making side dishes like bean, broccoli and sweet potato casseroles for friends and past customers, packaging them in dishes that can be claimed easily with no one else the wiser.
“That makes me happy that someone’s willing to put their name on something I made,” Bennett says. “I can make their dressing for them. It’s a traditional cornbread dressing form the North that I’ve tailored to Southern tastes. I’ll also be taking suggestions — with 30 years in the kitchen, there isn’t much I can’t do. If they want something that’s not on the menu and it’s within my capabilities, I’ll be thrilled to make it for them.”
One of the newest specials this season is the all-you-can-eat catfish offered all day on Saturdays.
“What we do is we bring out cornbread, coleslaw and cucumber salad for you to munch on while I cook the catfish with a serving of white beans,” Bennett says. “The catfish can be grilled or fried. I can also do blackening seasoning. It’s turned Saturday into one of our busiest days.”
Friday nights used to be catfish night, but now on that day guests can enjoy the seafood triple entrée, with a grilled tilapia filet, Gulf shrimp and catfish. Bennett has also added a few other menu items he thinks guests will love this winter. His pot roast dinner is prepared with a roast slowly cooked for 15 hours, making it fork-tender. Mountain City has also added a shrimp po’ boy served on a grilled hoagie roll with a house-made special sauce.
“Everything is made from scratch,” Bennett says. “We wouldn’t have it any any other way. I can cook cheaper by preparing things myself and that allows us to save the customers a couple of dollars and give better portions.”
Breakfast is served every Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to noon. Bennett says it isn’t uncommon for neighbors to meet and spend the morning chatting while trying some of the restaurant’s famous pancakes or the Redneck Eggs Benedict prepared with Tennessee ham instead of Canadian bacon and a cheesy hollandaise sauce on an English muffin.